A Step-by-Step Guide to Accent Lighting with LED Strip Lights

The use of LED lights is rapidly increasing, with the development described as “the fastest technology shifts in human history” in a Goldman Sachs report. More and more lighting designers and architects are using LED lights for commercial, residential and industrial projects.

To see LED lighting in action, look no further than Dubai. In this wealthy city, some of the most stunning venues, infrastructure and events are illuminated with LED lights. These include the magnificent Qasr Al Sultan, Dubai Parks & Resorts and the Global Village.

LED strips for accent lighting

Among the various types of LED lights, LED strip lights are the most widely used. This can be attributed to the reason that they offer more in terms of color options, efficiency, ease of installation and brightness. And with the superb energy efficiency LED lights offer, continued LED adoption is expected to slash energy consumption and carbon pollution across the globe five times as much.

The flexibility of LED also makes it the perfect solution to creating accent lighting, or illumination that is designed to be directed or focused to a specific area. In residential interiors, accent lighting may be used to highlight a particular artwork, statement piece or seating arrangement. In a commercial space, accent lights are used for window displays, featured merchandise or to create a certain mood or effect.

This step-by-step guide gives crucial information and techniques for using LED strip lights as accent lighting. These include choosing the best lights, powering, controlling and other strategies for hanging them.

Step 1: Order LEDs

You can be overwhelmed by the many options in the market if you’re searching for LED strip lights in Dubai. But you won’t go wrong with choosing 5050 RGB 5M 300, which is one of the most popular types of LED strip designs.

Here’s an overview of this type of LED strip light:

  • 5050 refers to the type of light. This is considered the standard part. Though 5050 is bright and big, it still runs cool. If you choose one that is bigger than 5050, it gets hotter and more expensive. But if you want something dimmer and smaller, order 3528.
  • RGB refers Red Green Blue. This means it is a tricolor strip. If you mix the different colors, you can achieve any color in the rainbow.
  • 5M stands for 5 meters. It refers to the length of the product.
  • 300 is the count of LEDs. A 5M strip with 300 LEDs or 150 LEDs is a common setup. The more LEDs, the brighter the light is.

Other Basic Terms to Know

Color Temperature

Color temperature will inform you of the light’s hue. It is expressed in Kelvin temperature or K. For instance, 4000K has a tinge of yellow while 6000K has a tinge of blue. As the temperature increases, the composition of blue also increases.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

CRI specifies how accurate colors appear under a certain light source when compared with sunlight. It ranges from 0 to 100. Since sunlight is the purest form, its rating is CRI 100. When LED lights have a rating of CRI 100, this means that the color under this light source appears the same as they would under the sunlight.

When buying LED strip lights, you must always read the labels. At Nakashi, we emphasize the importance of checking the indicators for color, energy use, brightness, expected life and estimated energy cost. Also, we can help you choose the best LEDs for your home.

Step 2: Power the LEDs

If you ordered a lighting kit that has a power supply and controller, skip this step and proceed to step 4.

However, there are two important things for you to look at – volts and amps. Messing with voltage can be too dangerous. If you go too high, this can lead to fires. And if you go too low, your powering might not work. Make sure to play safe by following the recommended voltage.

Same is true with amps. The device will not have enough power if you use too little amps. The difference is that your device won’t result in fires with too many amps; instead, the device will just use what it needs.

Step 3: Control the LEDs

For a safer and more efficient installation process, consider getting the controller that comes with the RGB strips. They are quite easy to use. But if you have multiple strips, you will end up controlling the lights using multiple remotes.

For an advanced setup, you can control the lights using a microcontroller. If all the strips you bought have a common anode, this means that there is one positive line and there are three grounds – one for every LED. So when designing your circuit, make sure that you are switching grounds.

Step 4: Wire Your Lights

When cutting LED strip lights, you can only do so at certain points. If not, you can’t solder onto the ends. You can only cut it across the middle of the copper pads that are spaced in every three LED bulbs. You may also find them by their labels – you can either see “+ R G B” or a marking on the common power line. To wire them all up, you just have to match up like pins – + to +, R to R, G to G, and so on.

But if you chose a waterproof strip, you have to remove some of the plastic so you can get to the solder pads. Strip and tin the wires and the pads on the strip lights.

Make sure to touch the wires to the pad before soldering them together. Mind the gap between them. Don’t forget to use hot glue to seal the wires once they’re soldered.

Step 5: Hang the Lights

Here are some methods for hanging the LED strip lights.

  • Built-in Double Sided Tape

    The built-in tape situated on the back of the lights will work on smooth surfaces like the bottom of cabinets. Initially try the tape and if it won’t work, try the other techniques.

  • Staple Gun

    Though staples from a staple gun will hold well, it can easily clip the strip and damage it. As such, be careful if using this technique.

  • Hot Glue

    Hot glue works well but it can stick to the back area of the LED strips. But this is the only remedy if the double sided tape failed.

  • Nails

    Use small nails to hang the LED lights if you need to attach it to a solid surface. Hammer it straight and then bend it over the light.

Step 6: Mount the Lights Properly

Do not place LED strip lights where they can be too visible because they can be too bright to look at directly. Instead, hide them strategically from sight. You can place them at the back of the shelf, to the underside of a bench or cabinet, or above the prep counter or kitchen sink.

Viola! Now you can enjoy your accent lighting.

To ensure you choose the right LED accent lights for your home or business space, get help from the lighting experts of Nakashi.